The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.
- Psalm 146:8 NIV
I know what it's like to be "bowed down"--to feel beaten, depressed, weighed down and defeated. If you've ever felt like that, this promise from God is for you, as much as it is for me. Sometimes our problems seem so overwhelming that we feel we're being crushed under the weight of them. Psalm 145:14 NLT says, "The Lord helps the fallen and lifts up those bent beneath their loads." It's never God's will for us to carry our own burdens, and His burden-bearing power is always available to us. But often, we have to do our part in the process. The Bible tells us to cast our cares on the Lord. (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7) So we need to give our burdens to God in prayer, and then trust Him to sustain us according to His promise. James 4:10 NLT says, "When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him, He will lift you up and give you honor." God is eager to rescue us, but many times He will wait for us to humble ourselves before Him and confess our need for Him. "I need You, Lord; please help me," is a simple but powerful prayer. In Psalm 3:3 NIV, David declares, "You are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head." Many times, as in this verse and the previous one, "lifting up" is associated with our receiving glory and honor from the Lord, as well as comfort and deliverance. God isn't just interested in helping us live burden-free lives; He wants to help us live lives filled with success and victory!
Job 22:29 says, "When men are brought low and you say, 'Lift them up!' then He will save the downcast." God has promised that our prayers can make a difference in the lives of those who are discouraged and depressed. Likewise, when we are the ones in need of a lift, it may be wise for us to seek out fellow believers who will intercede for us with the Lord. Ask God who you should request prayer support from, and then don't hesitate to receive the help He offers. When I go through difficult times that threaten to shake my faith, I remind myself of two things that I know without a doubt: (1) God is a good God, and (2) He loves us with a perfect love. This helps me to deal with the unanswered questions. We don't often think of an all-powerful God suffering along with us, but look at this verse in Isaiah 63:9 NLT: "In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years." I'm so thankful that we serve a God Who feels our pain and desires only good for us. If you're in need of a lift today, let me encourage you to share your true feelings with the Lord. If your faith is faltering, be honest with Him, and ask for His help. And have a good cry when you feel the need. God gave us tears for a reason, and they can be very healing. Stand on this promise from the Lord today: "You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again"! (Psalm 71:20-21 NLT)
Prayer: Lord, when I'm feeling bowed down, help me to turn to You in humility and honesty, and lift me up the way that only You can. Show me who I should seek out for prayer support, and deliver me from the negative feelings that would hinder me from receiving their help. I don't just want to survive, Lord--I want to thrive! Thank You for lifting me up, and giving me honor and glory in Your name!
- J. M. Farro